By Joel Weckerly, Sports Writer
The Wildcat baseball team, coming off a 2-1 Lone Star Conference South opening weekend against West Texas A&M, will prepare to clash with division rival Tarleton State in Stephenville Friday and Saturday.
ACU (8-8, 2-1) plays the Texans (7-8, 0-0) after a weekend in which it rebounded from a 12-2 loss to take the last two from WTAM.
“Obviously in conference you want to win the series,” ACU head coach Britt Bonneau said. “We didn’t do a lot of good things in Game 1, but I’ll be happy winning two out of three every weekend.”
ACU is now 6-2 in its last eight games, considerably better than its 2-6 start.
Tarleton, of course, is a traditionally better program than West Texas, and will present as tough a challenge as the Wildcats have seen all season.
“I think Tarleton’s a better team than they were last year,” Bonneau said. “We’ll have our hands full, but hopefully we’re up for the challenge.”
Although they are 2-5 in their last seven games, the Texans have several dangerous players to throw at the Wildcats.
Tarleton’s top two hitters this season are senior outfielder Daniel Anderson and junior infielder Gabe Ramirez. Anderson is batting .396 and Ramirez is hitting .378, while both players have 10 RBI and 1 home run apiece.
TSU’s top pitcher, sophomore left-hander Tito Alaniz, is 2-0 this season with a 3.38 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings pitched.
ACU, meanwhile, is led at the plate by junior catcher Cody Cure, who is batting .370 with 11 RBI. Senior shortstop Ryan Barker’s 12 RBI lead the team, but he is still struggling at the plate with a .250 average.
Sophomore pitcher Ben Brockman continues to be dominant on the mound. The righty is 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings pitched.
“It’s always a battle between our two teams,” Bonneau said. “No matter where we play, there’s never really an advantage. I think it’s gonna be a good weekend.”
Either junior left-hander Cassidy Coffman or junior right-hander Coy Polk will start Friday’s 2 p.m. opener. Brockman will pitch Friday’s nightcap, while senior righty Aaron Lawler will pitch Saturday’s 2 p.m. series closer.